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NCAA TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Cold Day for UCLA's Walker

May 23, 2000|CHRIS BRANAM | From Staff and Wire Reports

Cold weather was the undoing of UCLA's Sarah Walker in the NCAA women's tennis individual championships Monday.

Playing in thick fog and damp weather with early morning temperatures hovering in the high 50s at Pepperdine, Walker aggravated a back injury and had to retire from her first-round match against Mississippi's Julie DeRoo with the score tied, 5-5, in the second set.

Walker, a freshman ranked No. 2 in the nation but not seeded in the top eight after losing twice in last week's team competition, had lost the first set, 6-2.

Walker said she got hurt when she was leading the second set, 4-2. She asked for a trainer and received two medical timeouts in the next 15 minutes. But she gave up when, after hitting a forehand into the net, she couldn't bend over to pick up a ball.

"I was playing better the second set," she said, "[But] then I couldn't move forward at all. I knew I wouldn't be able to play a third set."

Walker also withdrew from doubles, where she was paired with senior Amanda Basica.

UCLA's Annica Cooper advanced to the second round for the second consecutive year with a 7-5, 6-4 upset of Duke's Megan Miller, seeded No. 8. Cooper, rallied from an 0-2 deficit in the second set.

"I was being aggressive at the right moments, and making the most of big points," she said.

Soon after Cooper's match, Pepperdine junior Ipek Senoglu made a bid to knock off No. 7-seeded Whitney Laiho of Florida. Senoglu bounced back after losing the first set, 6-2, and won the second, 6-2. But Laiho, who announced Friday she's turning professional, held on in the third, winning 7-6 (5).

"It was a bad draw for me," said Senoglu, who made her tournament debut. "I believed I could win this tournament. . . . I should have played my game. I overhit."

Jewel Peterson, a USC freshman ranked 17th, came from behind to beat Notre Dame's Michelle Dasso, 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

"I realized I had to get more balls in play," said Peterson, who lost in three sets to Dasso in the ITA Team Indoor Championships in February. "I stayed focused. I knew it was going to be tough. Anything can happen out here."

Peterson's USC teammate Veronika Safarova, a senior, was eliminated by Nevada Las Vegas' Katarina Malec, 6-0, 6-1. Pepperdine's Cintia Tortorella, a junior, also lost, 7-5, 6-4, to Vanderbilt's Julie Ditty, and the Waves' Monika Horvath, a freshman, lost to Mississippi's Celeste Frey, 1-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Two of the top three seeded players lost in the first round. Texas' Janet Walker, ranked No. 13 by the ITA but seeded second for this tournament, was eliminated by Utah's Megan Payne-Dorny, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Florida's Stephanie Hazlett beat No. 3 Adria Engel of Wake Forest, 6-4, 6-2.

Stanford's Marissa Irvin, the top-seeded sophomore from Santa Monica who went to Harvard-Westlake High in Studio City, advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 win over Texas' Michelle Faucher.

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